Shel: You guys, I finished Lucian Divine in the earliest of hours of the morning. I slept with it on the brain (I'm thinking I probably dreamed of alcohol and angels), and I've been awake for hours contemplating what to write. This novel isn't an easy one to pigeonhole--there are angels for pete's sake--and if I'm being honest, I bet some people won't even give it a chance because it's not the norm and for those people, I'd say--you're missing out. If I'm being super honest, I'd tell you that the old me would've been one of those readers who would've read the synopsis and thought it wasn't for me, but thank goodness for Courtney for opening me up to all sorts of new book experiences and for Renee Carlino for being a writer I trust to give me a really absorbing read--it's because of friends and writers like them that I'm constantly expanding my reading horizon. Court: I have to agree that back in 2013, you probably would've been like..uh, Court...no. But now, y'all! She picked this one! She is the best book picker there ever was, so I knew it would be good. This is definitely a testament to Renee Carlino and her ability to get us to hang in there because this one was very different from her usual story. And, in the end I can say that it was pretty awesome! These characters about killed me!Shel: Anyway.
Shel: If you're thinking about reading this novel and you're curious about whether you'd like it, here's what I can tell you without spoiling it: it's an unconventional romance but at the end of the day, it's still a romance and it contains many of the elements you'd want a romance to contain. Lucian is funny and antagonistic and completely hung up on Evey. And Evey evolves from a character that's kind of a hot mess to one who becomes stronger and stronger as the novel progresses. Even without the supernatural angel aspect, the journey to their happily ever after would be an interesting one; it's the supernatural element, though, that adds that extra zing. Court: Lucian is a fun character...and I like that even though they are angels...these guardians really don't know much more about the after life than we do. I thought that was an interesting take on a story like this, and I liked it. They died and had their job protecting humans...and then what would happen when their job was done? They didn't know. Mona (who was a pretty good character given our limited interaction with her! I just love the name) and Zack, and a few others that we meet all are so very different in their ability to be a guardian angel and I found references to Dogma pretty hysterical. I still can't believe I've seen that movie!
Shel: As noted at the beginning of this post, I'm relatively inexperienced when it comes to reading anything supernatural but I've become more and more open to reading novels that have fantastical elements to it (I mean if you think about it, isn't that what most romance novels do, sell you the fantasy of love?!) and I think it'll be writers like Renee Carlino who show me the way. In Lucian Divine I found myself intrigued by all of the choices Carlino made when creating her angels. I love how she carved out a place for them in our world and that she had answers for how they'd exist, appear, disappear, etc. I also liked how she didn't have all the answers and didn't bog the novel down in unnecessary details...that sometimes all Lucian could do was shrug at his inability to know everything about everything. I also appreciated how she handled their romance and all of the events that happened in the last half of the novel--especially the last few chapters. For me, an inexperienced reader when it comes to all things fantastical, I found Renee Carlino's light touch when it came to the way she built this world to be perfect--she blended fantasy and reality in a way that was interesting and funny and romantic. Court: YES! There is enough reality in it to not just make you confused...but then, there is also so much going on and the pace once it gets going never slows down. And I think we get a really good look into what the characters are feeling and have going on. We were right there on that ride with them, and while it almost made me have a heart attack I am glad I didn't give up!
Shel: The last thing I want to focus on when it comes to this novel is how it made me feel. Unlike her last two novels where I felt an increasing amount of angst as it got nearer to the end, in Lucian Divine I felt much more warmth and curiosity. Sure there were some obstacles in the way of Lucian and Evey's ultimate happiness but I never found those to be very anxiety producing; instead I felt a lot of love and hope coming through the pages. Maybe that was because I was taking it all in and not solely focused on the romance angle. Maybe it's because half the time I was wondering how this could happen in real life (lol) and how she'd resolve all the issues and the other half of the time I was thinking about the characters and their stories. Maybe it's because it really was low angst and more warm and hopeful. I don't know. I just know that when I think about this novel, I don't think about how my heart was palpitating with OMG! emotions but I think about how much I enjoyed seeing them together and how the whole novel ended; I shut the novel off with a smile and complete satisfaction (though if we're going for full honesty, I can see how this novel could spin off into lots of novels that could delve into many aspects--I see fanfiction coming out of this novel!). Court: I'm glad you didn't! Because I was dying. That is funny to me, seriously... how we can both catch such different aspects. I was really struggling about 50% because I was desperate to try to wrap my mind around how it would end. So, self inducing anxiety I guess caused most it because there was no way for sure that I ever could imagine how things would end. And I just ended up wanting more and more pages of these characters for long after it ended!!!
TL;DR: don't be afraid of the fantasy/romance--it's funny and fun and swoony and warm.
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“My guardian angel is a drunk.”
Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.
And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he's a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he's brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he's brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as ----. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.
For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.
Yes, God as in God.
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Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com